Recommended Reading: The New York Times’s feature on Dana Spiotta. “When Dana Spiotta was working on her fourth novel, Innocents and Others, she sat beneath a huge bulletin board pinned with her sticky notes and research materials: lists of relevant words (passion, transformation, intimacy) and ‘seeing’ devices (zoetrope, stereoscope, camera obscura), and photographs of Orson Welles, Jean-Luc Godard and the Maysles brothers. ‘It’s like walking into the book,’ Spiotta told me. ‘You feel it all around you.’” To prepare for her upcoming release, revisit our review of Stone Arabia.
“Whenever I tried to invent a character or a situation, I felt a stab of guilt. I could hear my teacher’s quavering voice saying, Write what you know! Why had she insisted on this so vociferously?” Writing class mantras are easy to impart but they are also easily misinterpreted. A.X. Ahmad, author of The Last Taxi Ride and The Caretaker, learns this truth the hard way as he tries to become a writer following a personal upheaval. Pair with Ahmad’s Millions essay on “The Thriller, Reinvented.”
Stop reading this post if you have things to do. Still here? You’ve been warned. Ray Cadaster compiled a list of The 50 Most Interesting Articles on Wikipedia, and then followed it up with a sequel containing 50 more. Over at Ploughshares, Justin Alvarez discusses his favorites among both lists, and he asks readers to share their best discoveries. As you go through these articles, keep an eye peeled for posts worthy of Citation Needed.
WARNING: Do not visit the website for Michigan State’s Celebrity Lecture Series unless you have a substantial amount of free time to kill. Before you even need to scroll down, you have access to audio from Edward Albee, Maya Angelou, Margaret Atwood, and Pat Conroy.
“Without your micro-fiction, we’re like a flightless bird, sauceless noodles, or decarbonated LaCroix. We loved the response to our last contest so much that, naturally, we’re having another one.” Submit your 200-word stories of separation to Paper Darts for its second annual micro-fiction award, judged this time around by Lesley Nneka Arimah (whose What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky graced our most-anticipated list for the first half of this year).